By Meghan Bruggeman
Lectionary reading for 3/21/2022: Psalm 39; Jeremiah 11:1-17; Romans 2:1-11
Selected passage for reflection: Jeremiah 11:1-7
Jeremiah 11:1-7 NIV
“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God. Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’—the land you possess today.” I answered, “Amen, Lord.” The Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.””
God is faithful, despite our faithlessness.
Jeremiah, for whom this book of scripture was named after, is a prophet. As a prophet, Jeremiah received a message from the LORD and shared it to the Israelite people.
The people had forgotten God’s covenant. They were living in the reality of promises fulfilled, yet they did not notice.
They were lukewarm. They selfishly dwelt in the security of God, as God had forewarned when he gave them the promised land, but they did not keep up with their end of the bargain. They had disregarded their responsibilities in their covenant relationship with God.
Notice how God speaks to Jeremiah and the commands God gives:
And the instructions God gives to Jeremiah to tell the people:
“Do everything I command”
Feels like the words of a parent or a teacher who knows what’s best for you. I am sure you have had imperfect examples of both of these in your life, but this is God we are talking about here. The perfect Creator, Sustainer, and Rescuer. Here, God, in God’s deep and faithful love, speaks through Jeremiah to remind the people of God’s character.
I see the heart of God so clearly in this passage. If you would allow me to extrapolate, I imagine God saying:
“I saved you.”
“I fulfilled my promise to you.”
“I followed through in my commitment to you even though I knew you would fail to keep your end of the deal”.
“So, listen to me.”
This is the character of God.
We can see this is what God continues to do in the lives of God’s people.
Let us not live in forgetfulness, but rather pay attention to the faithfulness of the Lord despite our shortcomings. What must we do when we are lukewarm and unaware of God’s presence?
When we live out of an idea that we have no belly buttons? (As my professor, Dr. Nick Bruckner so wonderfully explained to me in seminary). It is to say that we can live like we have no Creator, and therefore, we are merely beings of our own making. When we are asleep to our failings and selfish ambitions, we must be awakened. This can be done through remembrance…
Remember the Lord’s faithfulness in your life.
Write a letter to God. In it, acknowledge your first recollection of experiencing God. Highlight major milestones or moments from your relationship. Finally, note how you hope to grow in relationship with God moving forward.
Thank you God for creating, rescuing, and saving me. There is no one like you. Please help me today to live in the reality of our covenant relationship. I am forever grateful for your unconditional love for me and your commitment to lead me in your ways. May I listen, remember, and obey. Amen.
About the Author
Meghan Bruggeman serves as the Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Renew Covenant Church in Carroll, IA. Meghan is a mom to Micah and a wife to Danny. She is passionate about connecting people to God through transformative prayer practices and discipleship through her church, Spiritual Direction, and chaplaincy.